Chronic inflammatory diseases in Mediterranean populations are the lowest in the world, and life expectancy amongst the highest. This is why the Mediterranean diet has received so much attention. Oleocanthal is a substance only found in extra virgin olive oil and is believed to be the secret sauce of the health-promoting Mediterranean diet. Oleocanthal is named after the peppery stinging sensation (oleo for olive and canth for sting) felt at the back of the throat when ingesting.
Oleocanthal shares similar anti-inflammatory characteristics with Ibuprofen and has been acknowledged as a naturally occurring NSAID (without the side effects). Long term ingestion of oleocanthal has many health benefits. Of particular interest is its ability to reduce inflammatory related diseases.
- Research shows oleocanthal can reduce inflammation associated with joint degenerative diseases.
- Oleocanthal disrupts processes that are vital to the formation of Alzheimer's. There is evidence showing up to a 40% decrease in Alzheimer’s disease in populations consuming a Mediterranean style diet.
- Numerous petri dish studies report oleocanthal can inhibit the initiation and metastasis of several types of cancer. These findings support the lower incidence of cancers (breast, prostate, lung, gastrointestinal, etc.) found in the Mediterranean population.
- Type 2 diabetes (and excess weight in general) is a condition marked by excess inflammation. Oleocanthal and its anti-inflammatory properties may help with reducing glucose and A1C.
- Studies have demonstrated an association between consumption of extra virgin olive oil and a reduced risk of major cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.
At the end of the day, quality extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy. It benefits your heart, brain, joints and more. It is an important part of any diet.